How to Write a Novel

The easy way to write a fiction novel

Some people might tell you that writing a fiction novel is a difficult and arduous task. That’s not entirely true. If you have an idea for a story, then you have the basic necessity needed to write a decent fiction novel. But for most people, procrastination, self-doubt and other nonsensical reasons often get in the way. The following tips will give you an easy blueprint to follow in order to rise above your apparent limitations and write the fiction novel you have always dreamed of writing. It’s easier than you think! Let’s get started…

Where to begin? Many writing teachers and/or professionals will tell you to write from an outline in order to stay on task. But some writers work differently than others. Some come up with the ending first, while others come up with the perfect setting and go from there. There’s no right or wrong way to get started. The fiction novel writing process is varied and is often full of many twists and turns. Be prepared to go along for the ride and enjoy it — no matter where it takes you. The important thing to remember is that you need to be as flexible as possible. Creativity was not meant to be kept in a box.

Develop a central plot. The plot can make or break a fiction novel. If it is unfathomable or boring, you won’t be able to keep the reader’s attention or interest. But if you have a plot that is intriguing, original and believable — then you’ve got the makings of bestseller. A basic plot has three key factors: a beginning, a middle and an end. It must start at point A and finish at point Z with relative ease. The plot should unfold through introduction, conflict and resolution. Sound overwhelming? No problem! There are computer programs available to help fiction novel writers stay on track with the plot. Though these programs are somewhat expensive, if you are writing your very first fiction novel then they are worth every penny.

Create characters. This is probably the most fun aspect of writing a fiction novel. You have the ability to use the full range of your imagination when it comes to creating characters. You can draw from life experiences with people you have met or create a character right from your subconscious mind. The main thing to remember is that the characters have to fit in with your plot. For example, you can’t create a suspense-thriller with a sensitive grandmother as your main character. It just wouldn’t be believable. Characters are usually broken into a protagonist (the hero), an antagonist (the villain), and a handful of secondary characters to help keep the plot moving along. An easy way to develop characters is to draw them or write out their physical descriptions. Character names come easily once you have a visual in mind. The best characters are believable, have flaws, and are somewhat complex with a certain amount of emotional depth. You want the reader to get to know the characters as if they are real people.

Write away. One you have your plot and your characters in place, and an idea of where you’d like to start writing, get to it. Carve out some time in your schedule to begin writing. Here are some tips on where to begin:

The ending. If you can formulate an ending, it will help you develop the beginning and the middle of the fiction novel. It will also help you stay on track because you already know where you want the story to end up.

The setting. If you can see in your mind where you would like the fiction novel to take place, begin by describing the setting — whether it’s on a global scale, a certain city, a small town or a hotel room. Get the feel, smell, look and taste of the place in your mind so you can create a realistic setting on paper. You want the read to feel as though they are right there with you.

The characters. If you’ve already created the characters in your mind or have come up with the character names, you can start creating a plot. Having solid characters will allow a plot to form around them.

Just write. Sometimes, just having an idea for a fiction novel is all you need. Sit down in front of the computer, or a piece of paper, and just write. You never know what might come out.

 

Stay committed. One of the biggest downfalls of aspiring fiction novelists is procrastination. Commit to your project. Don’t even think about getting published at this point, just concentrate on one chapter at a time. When you make your goal achievable, such as getting one chapter written each week, the goal is much easier to attain. Once you have completed the fiction novel, then you can make getting published your goal. Websites like NaNoWriMo.com, where you sign up to write 50,000 words in one month in order to complete your fiction novel, can help you stay committed. Some writers work better when there’s a deadline looming over them.

Same time, same place. It’s never a good idea to pressure yourself into writing. That will only cause frustration and unneeded stress. Allow yourself to have days where you just don’t feel like writing. Don’t force it. However, on the days that you do feel like writing, make sure you are always writing in the same room and that you are always writing at the same time. This helps fight off procrastination. The same environment will lend itself to familiarity and creativity, and the same time will allow you to make room in your busy schedule.

Get some feedback. Never submit your fiction novel to an agent or a publisher without someone else reading it first. You may think you have the next great American fiction novel on your hands, and someone else might think it’s the next great American joke. Seek constructive feedback. If you are involved in a writer’s group, let another member read your work. You can also find experienced freelance editors online who can read your fiction novel for a reasonable fee and offer you constructive criticism.

First draft. Second draft. Third draft. Rewriting is the key. Don’t think that your first draft is the final masterpiece. It isn’t. Many experienced fiction novelists rewrite their manuscript at least three or four times. Making plot, character or setting changes is part of the process. Just remember that these changes will only make the story better. If an editor or a friend suggests changes to you, take time to consider their suggestions. Don’t be stubborn when it comes to a certain character or plot. It will only limit your growth as a fiction novelist.

Get published. This is the ultimate goal of any fiction novelist. Writers write for creative expression but they also to share their stories with the world. There are many ways to get published these days. Whether it’s a big publishing house, a small independent publisher, an online publisher, or you decide to self-publish — seeing your fiction novel in book form is an unforgettable achievement.

Last but not least — always write what you know. The last piece of advice, and probably the most important, is to always write what you know. If you write about something you have no knowledge about, it will come through in the story. The fiction novel itself will seem fake and forced. Writing about subjects you have first-hand knowledge of will give the story an authenticity that will most certainly speak for itself.

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